Book giveaway: Wanderlust

Posted on February 15th, 2009 by Laura Byrne Paquet in Books, Contests

Wanderlust "Social History of Travel" coverIt all started when I began wondering where passports came from. I pitched every magazine editor I knew on a story about the history of passports, but no one–and I mean no one–was interested.

Fine, I thought. I’ll broaden the concept and make it into a book.

The history of passports eventually became a chapter in my book Wanderlust: A Social History of Travel. The book also answers such burning questions as “Why did 1930s stewardesses carry wrenches?” (Answer: Because the planes’ violent vibrations often shook loose the passenger seats, which were bolted to the floor.)

Back in the early days, just about all travellers “travelled like locals”–from the bureaucrat in ancient China who took 13 years to return from a government mission (partly because he married a local woman and started a family en route) to the medieval pilgrims who sought shelter in monasteries along the way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Intrigued? Want to know more? Well, enter my contest and you can win a copy of Wanderlust. If you like, I’ll even autograph it for you (although I should warn you that my handwriting is atrocious).

So how do you enter? Just leave a comment on this post–even just “count me in!” will do–before midnight Eastern Time on Saturday, February 21. If you like, include a question about the history of travel; I’ll answer it if I can. I’ll pick a winner randomly from among the respondents, then e-mail the winner privately to get your mailing address.

That’s all there is to it! So start typing and send those comments my way.

86 Comments on “Book giveaway: Wanderlust”

  1. Nikki Hootman

    Sounds like a great book! “Count me in!”

  2. 1217620103s654

    Sounds like a great read!

    A travel question?

    I wonder how/where/when/why the tradition of leaving a small stone to indicate you’ve visited a place started. I’ve seen the practice with piles of small stones left by visitors at several places, including along the Santiago when we were with a walking tour and our guide told us to leave a stone at one particular place to mark our visit. Any idea how that tradition started?


  3. Annie

    This sounds like an awesome book! I’d love to read it and pass it on to my dad!


  4. A Stationary Addict

    count me in! it really does sound like a great book. Thanks!

  5. Vera Marie

    Yep. Count me in, too.

  6. mail4rosey

    Congratulations on turning your idea into a published work!

  7. Amawalker

    As travelers oft look back at eve
    When eastward darkly going,
    To gaze upon that light they leave
    Still faint behind them glowing
    So, when the close of pleasure’s day
    To gloom hath near consigned us,
    We turn to catch one fading ray
    Of joy that’s left behind us.
    -The Journey Onwards: T Moore.

  8. Carol Lawrence

    Sounds interesting,enter me in the book giveaway.

  9. myntric

    I’d love to win. This looks like a very interested read!

  10. Amanda

    I love traveling – this book is perfect for me.

    Please enter me – I would love to win!


  11. mverno

    love to be the winner

  12. Nf7mate

    Please enter me.

  13. sweetsue

    I would love to read this. I am going a little stircrazy, and have wanderlust myself!

  14. mindy

    sounds like a great read thanks for the giveaway

  15. Tobye

    I’d love to read this!

  16. Laura Byrne Paquet

    Great question about the stones at Santiago, Dominique! Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer. I suspect the custom is related to the ancient tradition of bringing gifts to appease the gods at holy sites, which goes back at least as far as the oracle at Delphi. And there is a deep human urge to leave a mark in foreign places (witness all those “Kilroy was here” scratchings and similar graffiti around the world). Sorry not to have a better answer–but if I do find one, I’ll let you know!

  17. mmentor

    thanks for signing me up

  18. Deborah Wellenstein

    I would love to read this! Thank you!

  19. Karin

    Count me in! Thank you.

  20. gkstratos

    Count me in

  21. deedleweedle

    I’d love to read this, thanks!

  22. toughturtles

    sounds like a good one

  23. redron

    would love to read this

  24. Melody

    This does sound interesting. The magazine editors lost will be your gain.

    Any information on The Great Migration? How much better, the same or worse was life after relocation?


  25. Tiffany

    Once you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, it never goes away!

  26. danosor

    I am a subscriber.Please enter me in this contest.

  27. marthajane

    My best friend and I both would LOVE this book. Sounds like some question we would ask!! 🙂
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  28. Fangirl Jen

    This sounds like such a great topic for a book. I am interested in reading it. Thanks.

  29. Nikki Hootman

    I always thought leaving stones was a traditional Jewish custom. See someone’s explanation here:

    Maybe it was adopted by other cultures as well– perhaps for the same reason?

  30. Sunnyvale

    This sounds like a very interesting, absorbing book.

  31. Jason

    This sounds like it would be very useful on my wife’s class

  32. Andria

    Sound really interesting. Thank you

  33. M.A.

    Looks like a great read.
    I hope I succeed.

  34. jbeckett

    Sign me up please!

  35. susan1215

    please enter me

  36. Cynthya

    This sounds very interesting to me. I had no idea about the wrenches on the airplanes. It must have taken a great deal of bravery to travel hundreds of years ago–I would have been one of those people who never went more than 10 miles from home their whole life. 🙂

  37. Laura Byrne Paquet

    Melody–Good question about the Great Migration. I didn’t cover it in the book, but there’s an excellent jumping off point to the topic on the PBS website at

  38. Laura Byrne Paquet


    Thanks for the link to the blog post about the custom of leaving stones at Jewish burial sites. I didn’t know that history of the custom, and it’s great to learn something new. Fascinating post.

  39. Laura Byrne Paquet


    I agree–travel until very recently was such an arduous task that it’s no surprise most people didn’t venture very far from home! Up until the late 1700s, even super-rich English aristocrats had to bring their own furniture and cookstoves with them to certain parts of Europe, because there were no hotels. And getting money abroad was an adventure–again, limited mainly to the rich. You had to bring a letter from your banker back home to a banker in the foreign locale. The letter stated, basically, that you were a good credit risk, and asked the foreign banker to give you some cash on the good word of your hometown banker. Not quite as easy as going to an ATM!

  40. Nickolay

    This looks like a good read on a Snowy Afternoon.

  41. Smooshy

    enter me!

  42. Princess Golden Hair

    i love to travel

    teechbiz at gmail dot com

  43. rottawa

    This is my type of book. I am so interested in this. I love to travel and would love to hear some of the history and trivia.

  44. Gabriel

    Sounds like a great book. Great contest.


  45. Laura Byrne Paquet

    Thanks so much, everyone, for the enthusiasm about my book! It’s lovely to read all the comments.

    Rottawa, there are so many quirky bits of trivia when it comes to travel that once I get talking about it, I could talk all day…

    For instance, did you know that the first passenger on a scheduled airline flight (across Tampa Bay) got soaked during the trip? Early planes had no windshields, and the plane flew so low over the water that the spray drenched everyone inside.

    Here’s another tidbit: An adventurous travel writer of the 1890s, Edith Tweedie, horrified her gentle readers with tales of one of the highlights of her trip to Finland–an ant-heap bath.

    And then there were the first people to cross Canada by car. Their 1912 journey took over seven weeks, and the two men loathed each other by the time they finished.

    OK, I’ll stop now. 🙂

  46. K. Cleaver

    Thanks for including me!

  47. Jayfr

    Sounds like a good book. I really enjoyed reading Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad”, about the first organized tour of the old world from America. Sounds like your book is a great all-encompassing followup.

  48. Laura Byrne Paquet

    Thanks, Jayfr, and everyone who has left such kind comments about my book! I enjoyed researching the history of travel; glad to hear there are lots of you out there who like the topic, too.

  49. ky2here

    This sounds intriguine and rewarding.

  50. msrodeobrat

    i love reading and traveling so this would be a great thing to have

  51. Christina

    Christina – – I’m very intrigued about the history of social travel (after reading your “review”) and would love to have an autographed copy of this book! It’s interesting how people travelled “equally” in the past – no limiting first or third class! – and how they helped each other on their journeys! I never thought about it before but now I’m intensely curious about how passports first began being issued!

  52. Brendan

    I would love this book! It combines reading and traveling, two of my favorite things!

  53. quiltingreader

    Looks like a good book.

  54. Izzie

    “Count me in” will do. Smile.

  55. vmkids

    count me in

  56. Wei

    free book? count me in!

  57. chromiumman

    well, i liked the wrenches anecdote, count me in

  58. Aisling

    This sounds fascinating. I often find myself wondering about strange things when I travel, so I know I’d find some delightful tidbits in your book.

  59. nostrilb

    Sounds like good reading, and something my local libary will not carry. iwontru@yahoo

  60. guettel78

    Thanks for the giveaway — sounds like a terrific read!

    I’ve always wondered where the tradition of sending postcards to friends and family originated, and what forms of communication were the precursor to postcards before a postal service (or even the printing press) existed.

  61. Auriette

    I was quite intrigued by your mention of the ant-heap bath, so I couldn’t continue until I looked up Ms. Tweedie’s account online. I was imagining lying on an ant hill and letting them eat the dirt off you or something! The description was much tamer, but it’s not something I’d want to try.

    I enjoy traveling, and I also like learning about history (I wish my classes had been as interesting as some of the non-fiction books and documentary films I’ve encountered). Your book sounds like it’s full of fascinating details about travel through the ages. I’d love to read it.

  62. Kate

    My boyfriend and I love to travel, this book will be great!!

  63. Kathy

    This sounds like a great book. I love to travel but really can’t afford it. I wish I could get a job where I got paid to travel. Thanks.

  64. arvard

    I love traveling and am always looking forward to my next grand adventure. I would love to win this book.

  65. weeblet

    Looks interesting!

  66. amyinkamloops

    Thanking you for posting such a wonderful review. Count me in. Thank you once again. ~ Amy (amyinkamloops *AT*

  67. Deborah

    “Wanderlust” sounds as interesting as travel itself! Thanks for the chance to win! asthenight at gmail dot com

  68. purango

    I would love to win this book.

  69. liliesrnice

    I would love to win this. I am on bedrest and would love to escape to fun new places, if only in my imagination, haha!

  70. kathy pease


  71. msvickik

    Sounds great! I love this kind of book!!

  72. Colengal

    Great concept for a book. I would love to read it.

  73. Laura Byrne Paquet

    Again, wow, thanks so much for the entries and the enthusiasm, everyone! This is the first contest I’ve ever run on my blog, and it’s lovely to see all the responses.

    A few of my own…

    Kathy: I know what you mean about getting paid to travel! There _are_ a few such jobs around, if you have the flexibility to take them. Teaching English abroad, working on a cruise ship and leading tour groups are a few that come to mind. See for some ideas.

    guettel78: The first postcards emerged in the 1860s. Post offices produced them to give customers a cheap way to send a brief message. The first ones had no pictures; correspondents wrote their message on one side and the address on the other.

    Small pictures began appearing in one corner of the message side in France and Germany in the 1880s. The first postcards designed primarily as souvenirs were printed for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

    In the early 1900s, the U.K. and the U.S. began permitting the address and message to appear on the same side of a postcard, freeing up the entire second side for an image, and the popularity of postcards soared.

    And there _were_ some very early postal/courier systems–the first dates back to the Persians, around 500BC–but they were used mainly for official messages (rulers declaring war and that sort of thing).

    Auriette: Glad to hear you tracked down Mrs. Tweedie! She really was fascinating.

  74. MAW

    unds like such an intersting read! thanks for the entry

  75. rosannepm

    I’d would love a copy of this book. I’ve always said my husband and son have a sense of wonderlust.

  76. rosannepm

    A question I have is: In the history of aviation travel when did airplane travel really take off (what year) that there was a noticeable increase in American travelling? Was it in the 60’s?

  77. Laura Byrne Paquet

    Good question re air travel, rosannepm. There were two noticeable spikes in air travel: one around 1958, when PanAm introduced “tourist class” in its new jets and when the first non-stop commercial flight to Europe took off; and another in 1970, when the Boeing 747 debuted.

  78. autumnbride7

    As an avid read and avid would be traverler… this book sounds fascinating.

  79. susan

    I would love to win1 so interesting!

  80. mgster

    Even though I can’t travel…I love reading about interesting places in this world of ours! Sounds great…please enter me!

  81. rivederlestelle

    count me in.


    I can not travel because of health reasons but with books like this ~I can mentally travel the world.

    Please count me in!

  83. lilyk

    Please enter me into the contest. Thanks!

  84. Heather

    I would loooove this book. Thanks so much!

  85. memetu

    I too have a wander lust.

  86. Laura Byrne Paquet

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! I did the random draw this morning, and Colengal will be receiving a copy of my book, “Wanderlust.” Colengal, I will be e-mailing you privately to get your snail mail address.

    Thanks so much to everyone who entered! This was my first contest, and it was a lot of fun.

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